I am 57 years old. Let’s say for the simplicity of round numbers, adulthood starts at 17. Therefore, I have been an “adult” for 40 years (damn!). For the first 30 of those adult years, I was a workaholic, mostly overweight, impatient, and selfish. My favorite hobby was drinking.
This post isn’t meant to be some over the top commercial for yoga and meditation (just an under the radar commercial since Frank and I are doing a workshop tonight). These practices are not the be all and end all and certainly folks find transformational inspiration in a variety of ways. But, given tonight’s topic, I thought it was appropriate to share my experience and the benefits I found in the practices.
My wife started the whole thing. She suggested I go with her to a hot yoga class because the movement was done in a room temperature of 105 degrees. She thought I would love sweating my ass off. She was right. I went to these hot/physical/workout-like yoga classes for 2 years. I had little knowledge of yogic philosophy or the full scope of the practice. At this point, my daughters suggested I consider being an instructor. I decided to take their advice and it was in training that I started to learn what yoga is.
I learned that Patanjali wrote the “definitive” yoga work, the Yoga Sutras, sometime 3-5 thousand years ago. He said, to paraphrase, yoga is the process for quieting all the noise in our head so we can live as our true self. Wow. That shit made so much sense to me. The second instruction that I found compelling was in order to do this quieting one had to practice, practice and practice, but not be attached to the outcome or for that matter “attached” to anything. Crazy talk. I was all about outcome and goals. How do you get anywhere if you aren’t attached to achievement? I learned you can. Just by sitting.
Over the last 10 years, I have practiced and taught yoga classes, but I really found change through meditation. The yoga movement work is fine, but the meditation (which is the ultimate end game of yoga anyways) is what made the difference for me. I started sitting for 5 minutes. It sucked. But every day, I sat. And then I wanted to sit longer. I was noticing changes not just when I wasn’t sitting but when I was living. What I was finding that in the stillness, in the quiet, curiosity and creativity emerged and I felt less impatience, selfishness and a deeper sense of peace, love and contentment.
As I close, I want to be clear, I still have issues! But I am 57 years old and I am physically, mentally and emotionally better than I have ever been. Just from sitting.